How Do I Level Legs?

by Tom C.
(Syracuse, NY)

Q: I am currently building 2 benches for a picnic table (free standing). I have 2 2x8x6 planks on each bench and the legs are X type 2x4's with a half lap miter in the middle.

I am having trouble getting the legs level.


A: I'm not sure which pieces you want to level. Are you referring to the angle on the bottom of the legs where they hit the ground, or the two legs (the "x" on each end) in relation to each other?

If you want to get the right angle on the bottom of the legs, I recommend putting the legs together temporarily (or make a mock-up from 1/4" plywood) and use the ground as a straightedge to scribe a straight line. The photo below shows what I mean. (The photo on the bottom left shows the scribed lines the one next to it is with the lines cut. It's hard to see in the photo.)

I used a cardboard box to bring the pencil up to an appropriate height. It doesn't matter how you do it as long as your scribe is straight / flat.

If you are trying to get both ends of the bench level then you can use one set of legs as a template for the other and you should be okay. If your bench is going to be on the ground (vs on a patio or deck) you have some leeway since the ground won't be too level.

Hope that answers your question.

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